How to Measure, Avoid, and Reduce High Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

Shopping Cart

I’m always surprised when I meet a client with an online checkout process and how few of them have actually tried to make a purchase from their own site! One of our new clients had a site they invested a ton of money into and it’s 5 steps to go from the home page to the shopping cart. It’s a miracle that anyone is making it that far!

What is Shopping Cart Abandonment?

It may sound like an elementary question, but it’s important that you recognize that shopping cart abandonment is not every visitor to your ecommerce site. Shopping cart abandonment is only the visitors who added a product to the shopping cart and then did not complete the purchase in that session.

Shopping cart abandonment is when a potential customer starts a check out process for an online order but drops out of the process before completing the purchase.

Optimizely

Many shoppers will browse and add products to a shopping cart without any intent to purchase. They may wish to just see a subtotal for the products, or an estimated shipping cost, or a delivery date… there are a ton of legitimate reasons why people abandon a shopping cart.

How to Calculate Your Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

The formula for Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate:

Rate\:\lgroup\%\rgroup=1-\left(\frac{Number\:of\:Carts\:Created\:-\:Number\:of\:Carts\:Completed}{Number\:of\:Carts\:Created}\right)\times100

How to Measure Shopping Cart Abandonment in Analytics

If you’re using Google Analytics on your ecommerce site, you must setup ecommerce tracking on your site. You can find your shopping cart abandonment rate and details in Conversions > Ecommerce > Shopping Behavior:

google analytics shopping cart abandonment rate

Note that there are two different metrics:

  • Cart Abandonment – this is a shopper that has added a product to the cart but not completed the purchase.
  • Check-out Abandonment – this is a shopper that has started the check-out process but then not completed the purchase.

There’s another term in the industry as well:

  • Browse Abandonment – this is a shopper – typically registered – that browsed your site but didn’t add any products to the cart and simply left the site.

What is the Average Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate?

Be careful with average rates on any type of statistic. Your consumers may differ in their technical abilities, or their connectivity, or your competition. While this is a great baseline, I would pay more attention to the trend of your shopping cart abandonment rate.

  • Global Average – The global average rate of cart abandonment is 75.6%.
  • Mobile Average – 85.65% is the average abandonment rate on mobile phones.
  • Loss of Sales – brands lose up to $18 billion a year in revenue from abandoned shopping carts.

What are Average Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates by Industry?

This data is taken from more than 500 ecommerce sites and tracks abandonment rates across six key sectors from Salescycle.

  • Finance – has an 83.6% shopping cart abandonment rate.
  • Non-Profit – has an 83.1% shopping cart abandonment rate.
  • Travel – has an 81.7% shopping cart abandonment rate.
  • Retail – has a 72.8% shopping cart abandonment rate.
  • Fashion – has a 68.3% shopping cart abandonment rate.
  • Gaming – has a 64.2% shopping cart abandonment rate.

Why Do People Abandon Shopping Carts?

Aside from the legitimate reasons, there are things that you can improve in your shopping cart experience to reduce the abandonment rate:

  1. Improve your page speed – 47% of shoppers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
  2. High shipping costs – 44% of shoppers leave a cart due to high shipping costs.
  3. Time restraints – 27% of shoppers leave a cart due to time constraints.
  4. No shipping information – 22% of shoppers leave a cart due to no shipping information.
  5. Out of stock – 15% of shoppers won’t complete a purchase because an item is out of stock.
  6. Poor product presentation – 3% of shoppers won’t complete a purchase because of confusing product information.
  7. Payment processing issues – 2% of shoppers don’t complete a purchase due to payment processing issues.

I recommend my own strategy, called the 15 and 50 test… get a 15-year-old girl and a 50-year-old man to buy something from your site. Pay attention to how they did it as well as how frustrating it was. You’ll discover a ton just by watching them! You can’t avoid abandonment altogether, but you can reduce it.

How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Critical to reducing shopping cart is overcoming the performance, information, and trust issues above. Much of this is can be improved by improving your checkout page.

  • Performance – Test and improve your page performance on both desktop and mobile. Be sure to load test your site as well – many people test a site that doesn’t have a lot of visitors… and when they all come, the site breaks down.
  • Mobile – Ensure your mobile experience is superior and absolutely simple. Clear, large, contrasted buttons with simple pages and process flows are critical to mobile conversion rates.
  • Progress Indicator – show your shopper how many steps to complete the purchase so they’re not frustrated.
  • Calls To Action – clear, contrasted calls-to-action that drive the shopper through the purchase process is critical.
  • Navigation – clear navigation that enables a person to return to the previous page or return to shopping without losing progress.
  • Product information – provide multiple views, zoom, usage, and user-submitted product details and images so shoppers are confident they’re getting what they want.
  • Help – provide phone numbers, chat, and even assisted shopping to shoppers.
  • Social proof – incorporate social proof signals like popups and customer reviews and testimonials that other shoppers trust you.
  • Payment options – add all methods of payment or financing to reduce payment processing issues.
  • Security badges – provide badges from third-party audits that let your shoppers know that your site is being validated externally for safety.
  • Shipping – offer a means to enter a zip code and get estimated shipping timelines and costs.
  • Save for later – offer a means for visitors to save their cart for later, add it to a wishlist, or get email reminders for out of stock products.
  • Urgency – offer time-related discounts or exit-intent offers to increase conversion rates.
  • Registration – don’t require any more information than required to checkout. Offer registration once the shopper is checked out, but don’t force them in the process.

How to Recover Abandoned Shopping Carts

There are some incredible automation platforms out there that capture and email registered shoppers on your site. Sending a daily reminder out to your shopper with details on what’s in their cart is a great way to get them to return.

Sometimes, a shopper is simply waiting to get paid so they can complete the purchase. Abandoned shopping cart emails are not spam, they’re often helpful. And you can make a strong call to action in your email for your shopper to stop getting reminded for that cart. We recommend Klaviyo or Cart Guru for this type of automation. They even have browse abandonment and out-of-stock reminders in their automation processes!

This infographic from Monetate has some great tips on improving your checkout process and reducing shopping cart abandonment. They use the term “avoid” which I don’t believe is accurate, though. No one can avoid shopping cart abandonment on their ecommerce website.

How to Avoid Shopping Cart Abandonment

4 Comments

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    Doug,

    Thanks for the info. 

    I agree, it’s amazing that people don’t “try their own cooking”  or watch others try to buy.
    The other point that hit home was hiding the promotion code box. I usually bail and try to find a code or find another site with a lower cost. 

    Don

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